William Saliba is back and making an impression and after his latest appearance for St Etienne, we spoke to Chloe Gallot of Ultimo Diez to get a report on his performance.
St-Etienne welcomed Lyon on Sunday for what is one of the biggest games of their season.
It is the biggest derby in France, which means that winning is the only thing that matters.
Claude Puel, who was in charge of his first game after taking over the team on Friday, made several changes. However, William Saliba was guaranteed to start his first and last derby at home with ASSE. He was positioned on the right side of a back three, alongside Perrin and Kolodziejczak.
His game started well as in the first five minutes he made some important interceptions. For most of the first half, though he did not have much work to do, but he did it well.
His first 45 minutes were clean, and a good comeback in front of Aouar in the 24th-minute illustrates that. Saliba’s evening was simplified as Lyon were not that much of a big threat. Indeed, St-Etienne did not concede a proper chance in the first half.
After half-time, the situation evolved for the youngster as H. Aouar, the unique threat of a poor Lyon side, kept playing on Saliba every time he could. Things got scary when at the 78th-minute mark, Aouar lost him easily and put the ball over him before scoring, however there was a clear offside.
It should have been considered as a warning. The Lyon player managed to hurt his opponent one last time in the 86th minute when he was too quick for the defender. It could’ve been a wonderful solo goal but his shot was not on target.
Yet, Aouar was the only one who managed to destabilise Saliba. Besides that, he never really got bothered.
He defended well, never rushing nor panicking. His capacity to read the game was once again highlighted, just like his usual composure when having to build up from the back.
M. Depay never managed to get past him nor Moussa Dembélé after he came on (85th-minute). Both Saliba’s strength and his speed were a real asset during the evenin,g even if again, Lyon were absurdly poor.
After the final whistle, Saliba erupted in joy as he celebrated with tears in his eyes.
His team had won the Derby du Rhône after scoring at the 90th-minute.
The young centre-back had an extremely intense week but a good one.
He played 180 minutes in four days and he did it well.
The derby was not the easiest game of his career due to Aouar giving him the run-around a few times, yet, he showed that he had the capacity to play in such a big game which could be useful in the future for the North London Derby.